Stocks continue slide, Dow dips 42

The Ticker

April 05, 1994|By Julius Westheimer

Unable to snap their losing streak, stocks suffered another bad day yesterday as interest rates continued to climb. Down 84 points in the first half-hour, the Dow Jones industrial average partly regained its balance by midmorning, but still lost 42.61 points for the 342-million share day, closing at 3,593.35.

But gloomsters might take comfort in an old Masai African tribal saying that reads, "Everything has an end." (Quoted in Peter Matthiessen's book, "The Tree Where Man Was Born.")

OPPORTUNITIES? Rather than overreact and become too gloomy about last week's "down" market, investors might be interested in buying some blue-chip stocks at depressed prices. Here are some well-known stocks, their 52-week highs (in parentheses) and their approximate prices today. (Fractions dropped): AT&T (65) 51; BG&E (27) 22 (Note: BG&E yields 6.5 percent today); Chrysler (63) 51; Coca-Cola (45) 40; Colgate (66) 57; Merck (39) 29 (Note: Merck sold as high as 53 within the last few years); McCormick (26) 22; Procter & Gamble (60) 53. If your favorite store hung a sign outside: "Quality merchandise, 10-25 percent off," I'll bet you would go in and take a look. You might take a look at some depressed quality stocks too.

BALTIMORE BEAT: Bethlehem Steel is listed under "Stocks to Buy" in Smart Money, April, but Black & Decker falls under "Stocks to Sell" in the same listing . . . These local stocks sank to 12-month lows in last week's "down" market: Adams Express, Allied Irish pr., Duty Free, Environmental Elements, Giant Food, NationsBank, PHH Corp., Potomac Electric and Westinghouse . . . The latest issue of Norman Fosback's Mutual Fund Forecaster says, "T. Rowe Price International Discovery Fund seeks capital pTC appreciation by investing in fast-growing small and medium-sized companies outside the United States. Price has established a well-earned reputation of expertise in the growth-stock sector, and this diversified fund takes that experience abroad."

MARYLAND FOUR: The cover story of the new Fortune magazine, April 18 issue, is titled "The Fortune 500 -- The Largest U.S. Industrial Corporations," and in the article we find four Maryland companies. They are, followed by their ranking in sales in the list of 500: Martin Marietta 51; Black & Decker 106; McCormick 270; Crown Central Petroleum 281. Digging deeper, we find that McCormick has rewarded its investors with a whopping 23 percent annual total return (gain plus income) over the past 10 years. Martin Marietta's decade-long annual total return was 17 percent. Five years ago, Maryland had five companies in the Fortune 500; 10 years ago we had six.

WHERE TO COMPLAIN: "A financial analyst was having a terrible time getting help with her problem. She had just bought a computer, and it turned out to be a lemon, so she was trying to reach the company's technical support department. She called and called and called and couldn't find anybody to help her. Instead of throwing in the towel, she asked herself who in the company should have the most interest in keeping her a happy customer. Answer: the sales force. On her first call, she got through right away, and three days later the part she needed was in her hands." (Dollar Stretching Ideas.)

APRIL SHOWERS: "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" brings a doubleheader treat this Friday, called "Two Hall of Famers," namely Peter Lynch, trustee, Fidelity Management & Research Co., and John Templeton, founder, The Templeton Funds . . . "The Best Cities in Which to Start a Career" include, for large markets: Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Nashville, Tenn.; and Louisville, Ky. For medium markets: Madison, Wis.; Austin, Texas; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; and Omaha, Neb. In small markets: Sioux Falls, S.D.; Provo, Utah; Boise, Idah; and Santa Fe, N.M. (Data from "Managing Your Career, Spring 1994," the college edition of the National Business Employment Weekly) . . . "A good way to judge people is by observing how they treat those who can do them absolutely no good." (Malcolm Forbes.)

LOOKING BACK: "With the magic 4,000 hurdle only a strong market day away, the Dow continued its dizzying ascent through January, fueled by good economic news, encouraging inflation data and a spate of favorable earnings announcements." (Beating The Dow, February issue.)

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